In this series, we’ll be highlighting a different player from the New York Jets’ storied past. Today, we take a look at quarterback Mark Sanchez.
He’ll always be known for one embarrassing play, but Mark Sanchez should still be remembered for quarterbacking the Jets to back-to-back AFC title games.
When you play your college football at USC, you’re already well-versed in pressure and high expectations. The latest in a long line of Trojan quarterbacks who also became first-round draft picks, Sanchez had the Jets so enamored heading into the 2009 NFL draft that they traded all the way up from No. 17 to No. 5 to make him their new face of the franchise.
Sanchez wasted little time making a massive impact for the Jets, starting 15 games as a rookie, as the team went 9-7 and won back-to-back playoff games on the road before finally falling to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game.
The following season, Sanchez would lead the Jets to an 11-5 record and yet another Wild Card spot in the postseason. Once again, Sanchez and the Jets won two playoff games on the road, but faltered in the conference title game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That would be the last taste of the postseason the Jets would get with Sanchez under center (or anyone else, for that matter).
During the 2012 season, Sanchez suffered the embarrassment now known far and wide as the “Butt Fumble,” having fumbled the ball after running into the backside of a teammate in a Thanksgiving night loss to the New England Patriots on national television.
After leaving the Jets, Sanchez went on a four-year tour of the NFC East, spending two years with the Philadelphia Eagles, and a season each with the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. After being a four-year starter in New York, Sanchez would start just 11 more games over the four subsequent seasons he spent elsewhere.
Sanchez started 62 games over his four seasons with the Jets, finishing with a 33-29 record as a starter. Despite playing just four seasons for the Jets, Sanchez still ranks sixth in franchise history in career passing yards (12,092) and passing touchdowns (68).